Book Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Title: Bayou Moon
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
ISBN: 978-0441019458
Publisher: Ace
Pub. Date: September 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 447
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: Cerise Mar and her clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect. But all is not as it seems.
Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge-and Cerise’s life.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Bayou Moon is the second novel of Ilona Andrews’s The Edge series.  It follows William’s story two years after the events of On the Edge.  William is sent on a mission by The Mirror to find the object that Spider, the villain, is looking for.  On his way to the Mire, a swamp area in the Edge (where Spider is), he is forced to travel with a homeless-looking girl, Cerise.  He later finds out that it was only a disguise.  As soon as he sees what she really looks like, he wants her.  Then, when he sees how she fights, he wants her more.  Cerise’s parents were handed over to Spider by her family’s enemy.  After running into several creatures and hunters looking for her, William decides to stick with her, for the time being anyway.  Nothing is as it seems.  Lies, blood, and death surround Cerise as she tries to find her parents and destroy those that get in her way.
Ilona Andrews floored me with the amazing characterization in this book.  William was so complex!  He is a changeling-both human and wolf.  There are times when he acts and thinks like a human.  However, with every strong emotion, the wolf comes out-maybe not physically, but mentally.  Whenever this happens his thoughts go from normal and rational to “I want….” and “Must have…..”   Very primal.  Cerise notices when he switches to wolf-mode.  She can see it in his eyes, but she doesn’t know that he is a changeling.  Andrews juggles the two mind-frames very well.  Changelings, in their fundamental nature, act on instinct, not thought.  William always has to remind himself that he is also human and he cannot just take what he wants; he has to ask for it and be ready for rejection if it comes.  This was very sad yet admirable.  He really wanted to be with Cerise for most of the book.  He always reminded himself that women didn’t want him; he was a monster that could not be loved.  William had to deal with a ton of inner conflict, besides the wolf/human one.  He was always scared that once Cerise found out who he was, she wouldn’t want him anymore.  Before he can be with Cerise, he has to come to terms with his past and that it does not define him-his actions define him.
I felt so bad for Cerise.  After her parents are kidnapped she has to lead the family in a battle not only against their rival clan, but also Spider.  Meanwhile, her younger sister is slowly going insane-thinking she is a monster who deserves to live in the woods.  Because she is the new head, she has to hold her emotions in so that the family respects her.  The only person she truly lets in is William.  She trusts him, and loves him.  Because he looks like a Blueblood, noble of the Weird, she calls him Lord Bill when she first meets him.  Even though it was just used to mock at first, she continues to call him this as the story progresses.  I love the nickname, its so cute.  It has a teasing/flirty edge to it in the book.
There were a lot of different elements mixed into Bayou Moon.  First, there was a lot of gore, violence, and family feuding going on.  The action is suspenseful and bloody.  The fight scenes were depicted with a great attention to detail.  I felt like I was in the middle of them.  There were times when I was definitely shutting my eyes and muttering “ew.”  Second, there was romance.  William and Cerise’s relationship was intense.  There were a lot of “almost” scenes.  They were both obviously attracted to each other.  Cerise even admits to her family that she loves him, but he can’t take a hint.  William is very straightforward and doesn’t understand flirting.  He also doesn’t believe she wants him so he always pulls himself back when he wants to kiss her (or more).  This leads to many tension filled scenes that had me screaming “Just kiss her already!”
I liked On the Edge a bit better than Bayou Moon.  Not too sure why, but Bayou Moon is still a great book.  It’s emotional, action-packed, and romantic.  The other characters, besides William and Cerise, are for the most part three-dimensional.  There were so many, I thought I’d get confused (especially within Cerise’s big family) but Ilona Andrews did such a great job writing them, that it never was the case.  Rose, Declan, and the boys from On the Edge appear briefly at the end-which was nice.  All in all, I thought Ilona Andrews crafted an excellent book.

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Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)

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Book Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Title: On the Edge
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #1
ISBN: 0441017800
Publisher: Ace
Pub. Date: 2009
Source: Paperback
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
Pages:  309
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads: The Broken is a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale. The Weird is a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny.Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, the place between both worlds. A perilous existence indeed, made even more so by a flood of magic-hungry creatures bent on absolute destruction.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Ilona Andrews crafted a fantastic world that combines our mundane world with an alternate world filled with magic.  The mundane reality is known as the Broken.  The alternate realty of our world is called the Weird.  Between the two is a long strip called the Edge-not quite mundane and not fully magic.  People that inhabit this area are kind of like the much less rich and powerful people of the Weird.  Basically everyone there owes allegiance to themselves and their families first.  The story centers around Rose, a twenty something yr old who lives pay check to pay check while raising her two younger brothers-one who is a shifter and the other who can raise people and animals from the dead (taking years off his life).  Rose also has a talent- she can flash white, which is very rare.  Ever since she flashed white during her high school graduation, people in the Edge have been trying to sell her to nobles in The Broken.  Her ex-boyfriend attacked her and tried to sell her-but she was able to get away.  Ever since then Rose doesn’t trust nobles, or anyone else for that matter.

When Declan, a noble, arrives in front of their house, Rose emerges with a gun, jumping to conclusions, and telling him that she will not marry him.  He manages to make a deal with her and ends up living with them.  Since she lost her job, she does not have much of a choice but to let him pay her to stay.  While there, Rose has to give him three challenges.  If he is able to complete the three challenges then she has to leave and go with him back to the Weird.  But Rose seems to have other things on her mind than the challenges-the wolves that have started attacking people in The Edge and internal family problems.

I loved this book!  The villain didn’t really scare me-he could have been more threatening but it bother me too much.  Rose was such a strong character.  She had a really hard life.  Her ability to take everything day by day, hour by hour, problem by problem was really impressive.  Her selflessness was shown throughout the book, mostly in the care she gave to her brothers.  She did everything she could so they could live comfortably.  She was basically like their mother.  Declan, oh boy!  I thought he was an arrogant jerk in the beginning-kind of like how Rose felt.  But then he started to show his soft side.  He loved Rose so much.  He helped her even when she was rude to him. I don’t want to give anything away, but what he did for Rose was so awesome and just heartwarming.

I couldn’t put this book down!  After I finished it, I went back and re-read all my favorite parts.  I so badly want Ilona Andrews to continue with Rose and Declan-even though the end is a kind of “happily ever after-the end” ending.  The world was wonderfully crafted and fun to read.  Everything was just so different from the paranormal/fantasy/romance books out there.  I would definitely recommend this book to all who love a good romance, magic, action, and a bit of mystery.

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On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
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